Get to Know: Marvin Nelson, Democratic Candidate for ND Governor

We continue our conversations with the candidates for governor of North Dakota and welcome Democratic candidate Marvin Nelson to our set.

ALISON VOORHEES: We’ll begin with the same question that we asked your opponents Doug Burgum and Marty Riske. What would you do if you were governor? How would you settle the Dakota Access pipeline issue?

MARVIN NELSON:  Well, at this point, Chairman Archambault has indicated a willingness to consider an alternate route. Really, the governor, the only way he can do things is to basically be a negotiator that goes between all the parties involved and tries to get the people with the actual authority to reach a solution.

TJ NELSON: Well, you have admitted on social media that you’re quote “lousy at raising cash and you’ve asked supporters to give money for radio ads for the last week of the campaign which is now. Do you feel you can win against a man with some deep pockets?

MN: Well, I don’t know. In the end, the money doesn’t decide the outcome, it’s the votes. And it’s really a question of who shows up to vote and what they decide once they’re inside that voting booth. I don’t think anybody can actually tell you what’s going to happen this fall.

AV: We’ve seen the state go from a massive surplus to the current governor ordering agencies to make cuts. How would you get the state back on track?

MN: Well, the big thing is we have to start building from the bottom up and we have to make smart cuts. Spend where we need to spend. For instance, if you cut parole officers, then that leaves the courts with no alternative but to put people in jail. It costs more money to put them in jail than it does to supervise them on parole. So you have spend money in some places in government in order to save it. The other thing we need to do is we really need to raise the minimum wage and we need to provide support services so people can go to work. Things like child care, family leave and those things. That’s what we need to do to get our economy going.

TJ: Do you agree with the way the governor handled this last round of budget issues with his directive to make cuts to the agencies?

MN: Well, the Medicaid cuts are just a disaster that’s in the makings. We’re probably going to be closing rural hospitals and as we continue moving forward, clearly, many of them can’t survive. The nursing homes are sitting there with an untenable situation as of January 1st. They cannot survive what’s currently the situation. And all they have is a promise made during the time when the budget was actually in better condition than what it is today. It was really poorly handled. It should have been much more strategic cuts. We should have restored some of that money. It’s part of why our economy is not doing as well as it should.

TJ: Why should people vote for you over candidates Doug Burgum and Marty Riske?

MN: Well, Marty kind of just thinks government shouldn’t be there. When you take a farmer in Western North Dakota and he’s got a problem with an oil company, he really can’t protect himself. Only the government can protect us in that situation. So I’m a believer that government should work to make people play fair. The other thing is basically whether you believe in trickle down economics where you give a lot of money to a few people at the top and some how everybody’s supposed to get a taste of that or if you really believe in the percolate up economics. If you believe that helping the people at the bottom of the economic scale is what works, then you should be voting for me. It’s the old ‘we all do better when we all do better’. That’s really the reason.

TJ: The Republicans have a pretty strong hold on all levels of state government here. Do you see your party making some advancements in a week?

MN: I think certainly we’re going to pick up some Legislative seats. Whether we get a statewide office or not, it’s really just a matter of time. I don’t know this election, but clearly, it’s going to happen in the not very near future. Because there’s too many bad things going on and too many people becoming aware of it.

Election Day is in one week and early voting is already underway in cities across the state.

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